European businesses taking meaningful strides toward cloud computing

GENEVA – European enterprises
are beginning to embrace the business opportunities offered by virtualising
assets and accessing applications through the cloud, according to new
research*, commissioned by Brocade/quotes/comstock/15*!brcd/quotes/nls/brcd.

The research shows that 60 per cent
of enterprises expect to have started the planning and migration to a
distributed — or cloud — computing model within the next two years. Key business
drivers for doing so are to reduce cost (30 pe rcent), improve business
efficiency (21 per cent) and enhance business agility (16 per cent).

The findings appear to confirm
recent research by analyst firm IDC, which identified that cloud IT services
are currently worth GBP 10.7bn globally, a figure that is estimated to grow to
around GBP 27bn by 2013.

For enterprise organizations,
investment in the majority of cases is in the development of a private cloud
infrastructure due, in part, to concerns over security.

Over a third of respondents
cited security as the most significant barrier to cloud adoption, closely
followed by the complexities of virtualising data centres, network
infrastructure and bandwidth. The research also analyzed the small-to-medium
enterprise (SME) space, and while enterprises are embracing the cloud and the
business advantages it brings, SMEs appear to be slightly slower to adopt with
only 42 percent predicting a move to the cloud within the next two years;
unsurprisingly, 63 per cent of these plan to opt for a hosted solution.

Other key research findings

— More than a quarter of large
organisations are planning to migrate a cloud model within the next two years;
11 per cent within one year

— A quarter of organizations
stated that the ability to consolidate the number of data centres was also a
critical driver

— The availability of bandwidth
was also a deciding factor amongst 14 per cent of respondents

The findings reinforce Brocade’s
vision that data centres and networks will evolve to a highly virtualized,
services-on-demand state enabled through the cloud. Brocade recently outlined
its vision, called Brocade One(TM), at its annual Technology Day. Brocade One
is a unifying network architecture and strategy that enables customers to
simplify the complexity of virtualising their applications. By removing network
layers, simplifying management and protecting existing technology investments,
Brocade One helps customers migrate to a world where information and services
are available anywhere in the cloud.

“As data centres become
distributed, the network infrastructure must take on the characteristics of a
data centre. For the cloud to achieve its true promise, the network needs to deliver
high performance, scalability and security,” said Alberto Soto, Vice
President, EMEA, at Brocade. “What our research tells us is that companies
are now recognizing the profound positive economic implications of adopting
cloud solutions and are ready to make the journey of adoption, but only with a
sound infrastructure in place.”

Brocade also recently unveiled
several powerful innovations designed to radically simplify network
architectures to better support a highly virtualized IT model. These
innovations include a wide variety of unique and powerful technology
advancements customized to support virtualized data centres, including:

— Brocade Virtual Cluster
Switching(TM) (VCS): A new class of Brocade-developed technologies designed to
address the unique requirements of virtualized data centres. Brocade VCS
overcomes the limitations of conventional Ethernet networking by applying
non-stop operations, any-to-any connectivity and the intelligence of fabric

— Brocade Virtual Access
Layer: A logical layer between Brocade converged fabric and server virtualisation
hypervisors that will help ensure a consistent interface and set of services
for virtual machines (VMs) connected to the network. Brocade VAL is designed to
be vendor-agnostic and will support all major hypervisors by utilizing
industry-standard technologies, including the emerging Virtual Ethernet Port
Aggregator (VEPA) and Virtual Ethernet Bridging (VEB) standards

— Brocade Open Virtual Compute
Blocks: Brocade is working with leading systems and IT infrastructure vendors
to build tested and verified data centre blueprints for highly scalable and
cost-effective deployment of VMs on converged fabrics

— Brocade Network Advisor: A
best-in-class element management toolset that will help provide industry-standard
and customized support for industry-leading network management, storage management,
virtualization management and data center orchestration tools

— Multiprotocol Support:
Brocade converged fabrics are designed to transport all types of network and
storage traffic over a single wire to reduce complexity and help ensure a simplified
migration path from current technologies

“We’re in the midst of a
major innovation cycle in IT — moving from infrastructure designed to automate
existing processes to services-oriented architectures that speeds delivery of innovative
new services. The days when the majority of computing power was in the data centre
are behind us. Today, we have incredibly smart end points with lots of
computing power that are remote, distributed and mobile. Information and applications
are virtualized and can reside anywhere within the cloud. Our findings show
that European adoption is on the rise, but businesses need to address a number
of very real challenges to reap the benefits of the cloud,” added Soto.

* The fieldwork was conducted
across 200 CIOs from across Europe during spring 2010.